Most, if not all, of us, have a heart of a traveler. Some even put to travel solo on their bucket list. Some things become inherently trickier as a traveler, and language skills are definitely one of them. So you have figured out where you want to go, your flights are booked, bags are packed, everything is all set to go… but what happens when you need to converse with the locals when you arrive, and you don’t know the language? One really frustrating challenge for the international traveler is the language barrier. Still, it can be overcome by studying basic phrases and sentences and understanding the correct timing of using them.
Here are the top 30 phrases and its meaning given by CCEL so that you can travel with ease.
- Hi / Hello / Hey
These three words can be used to greet someone if you are confused about the time and the proper greeting that should be used. We use the ‘hello’ to formally greet someone we do not know, while ‘hi’ is a slightly less formal form compared to ‘hello’. So if you are talking to an officer or a teacher, use ‘hello’. On the other hand, use ‘hi’ when you need to get an attention of other people to ask for directions. Lastly, ‘Hey’ is used to call someone we know like a friend or a relative.
- Good Morning
This phrase is used to greet other people in the morning. To be exact, only use this greeting until 12 noon. If this is used beyond that time frame, you might get a few laugh from other people.
- Good Afternoon
So beyond 12 PM, this one should be used. And even though there is a thin line between where the afternoon ends and an evening starts, it is usually said until 5 PM.
- Good Evening
At night, this phrase is used normally until before you sleep. In some cases, they only use this form of greeting after dinner.
At the Airport
- What time is my flight?
Due to the different time zones in different countries, you might get confused on what time your next flight will be. So knowing this phrase is very important so you will not get late or too early for your flight.
- Where is the restroom?
This question is asked for you to find a place to freshen up and use the toilet. Be mindful as there are a lot of variations of the word restroom. It can be referred as a bathroom, washroom, comfort room, or toilet.
- Where is my gate?
A gate in the airport pertains to the place where you have to enter the airplane, and it is where you have to wait before you board the plane.
On the Airplane
- Are meals included?
Meals is a set of food served at once. Some airlines include meals in the package, some don’t. So it is good to ask if you will be given food or you still have to buy it separately.
- What time is it?
This is a useful question because as stated above, your travel may mean you are going through different time zones and the one on your watch might not be accurate anymore.
- May I purchase headphones?
Since most of the airplanes nowadays have a small TV on every seat on the board, it is useful to know this phrase to acquire a headphone so you can hear what you watch better.
- I am traveling for work/leisure
If you say that you are traveling for work, it means you are traveling because your company sent you or if you have business to attend to. On the other hand, if you say it is for leisure, it means you are touring for vacation or to have fun.
- I am visiting my family.
If your purpose is to visit a relative, the officer may have to be informed. Tell them the name and address of your family so they would be aware.
- I am staying at _______
The customs’ officer may ask you where you are going to stay. If you already pre-arranged your accommodation, prepare the name and address of the hotel.
Arriving at Your Destination
- Do you have a map?
A map is a picture guide of the place you are in. It will definitely help you find helpful places like restaurants, attractions, and even your hotel.
- Where is the currency exchange?
A currency exchange is a place where you can bring the money from your home country and have it exchange to the currency that is used in the place you are currently in. It is important to locate that as soon as possible so you can spend money on the things that you urgently need.
- Where can I find this taxi?
A taxi is a public vehicle that will help you get to the exact place you want or need to be in. It is also referred to a ‘cab’ in other places.
- I don’t understand.
This one will help you let another know that you can’t speak English well. This will let them explain using more basic English terms.
At the hotel
- Where are the elevators
If your room is located at a very high level of the building, you may use an elevator. A device that will lift and lowers you between the floors of a tall establishment.
- Is there a free breakfast?
Some hotels offer free breakfast for their guest. To avoid paying the extra charge, try to use this question to the receptionist.
- How do I call for room service?
Room service means someone will come to you to deliver food or drinks. It can also be called to ask for assistance.
- What floor am I?
A floor refers to what level of the building you are currently at.
Around the Town
- Where is the hospital?
If you are sick, injured, or you need medical assistance, a hospital is a place you should be looking for.
- Where can I find a restaurant?
So you wish to try to eat local foods because you are tired to cook for yourself, you should ask this question to look for a place to eat.
- Where is the bank?
If your cash on hand is not enough, you may need to look for a bank to withdraw money.
- How did you get to ______?
If you want to go somewhere but you do not know how to, ask this phrase to know where to go.
At a Restaurant
- May I see a menu?
A menu is the list of food and drinks that the restaurant offers. It will help you choose what to order.
- I’ll have an appetizer
An appetizer is a food you eat before you go to the main course.
- I would like to drink ________.
Finish the phrase with the thing you want to drink. Whether it is beer, wine, soda, water, or juice.
- I would like a dessert.
A dessert is a dish that is eaten normally after the main dish. It is usually sweet.
- May I have the bill?
The bill indicates the list of the food that you order and the total price of everything. Some restaurants do not give you the bill unless you ask for it so be sure to request for it.